A community group will soon be offering free haircuts to Durham’s homeless. Haircuts4Homeless, a charity established by experienced hairdresser Stewart Roberts, has been operating in various parts of the country for some time and is now getting ready to deliver its first sessions in the North-East. The group will work with hairdressing students studying at East Durham College and Durham Salvation Army. They aim to offer the free cuts once a month.
Alison Scattergood, who lectures in barbering at East Durham College and is Haircuts4Homeless’s Durham team leader, recently stated, “It’s great to have this opportunity to help offer this event in Durham each month to help give a self-esteem boost to people in need.”
Stewart Roberts stresses that “homeless people have many challenges to face, one of them being a low self-esteem. A haircut can have a great effect on someone, giving them a real boost. The service proves to be very popular. One of people’s basic rights is to feel good about themselves and this service can give that to people.”
Stewart started his charity in Havering, but now it is offering free haircuts across the South East of England as well as in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The Durham sessions will be its first venture into the England’s North. All the hairdressers involved in it donate their time and skills completely free of charge. Stewart goes on to say, “Hairdressers have a known empathy and are great communicators. There is something very personal about cutting someone’s hair that can be both enjoyable and therapeutic, which is something that many homeless people rarely get. It may be ‘just a haircut’, but it is the kindness shown that makes a homeless person know that people really care.”
Stewart was inspired to set up his charity by the actions of Mark Bustos in New York City. Bustos, who has worked with some famous and high-profile clients, had his idea of offering free haircuts after visiting the Philippines and witnessing the poverty there. Bustos approaches homeless people on the street and says to them, “I want to do something nice for you today.”